WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), along with Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Congressman Seth Moulton (MA-06), Congressman Don Beyer (VA-08), Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-07), Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE), and Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (CA-31) introduced the 988 Implementation Act. This comprehensive legislation will provide federal resources for states to implement their crisis response infrastructure one year after the launch of 988, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. 

“Everyday, millions of Americans face mental challenges and are unsure where to go for help,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “The 988 hotline streamlines resources for those in need, as part of a network of over 200 local crisis centers, yet only thirteen-percent of adults are aware of this critical resource. I am proud to join a bipartisan group of colleagues in introducing the 988 Implementation Act to build upon the critical progress we have made, and further ensure that our communities are properly equipped with crisis-response services.”

“The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline launched one year ago, and it is saving lives,” said Congressman Cárdenas. “Since then, millions of callers have received crucial mental health care through the three-digit number, but we know that more resources are needed for the success of the lifeline. Answering a call from someone experiencing a mental health crisis is a great first step, but we must ensure that there’s someone who can come provide more support if necessary, and somewhere to go if they need further care. That is why we need to fully invest in 988 and the broader mental health crisis care continuum at the federal level. My 988 Implementation Act will provide the support that we need to save more lives and improve the standard of crisis care across the country.”

“The first year of 9-8-8 exceeded my expectations. It helped millions of people get the emergency mental health help they needed in the moment, and millions more will benefit in the future,” said Congressman Moulton, who co-authored the bipartisan bill that created 9-8-8. “Now we need to ensure that 9-8-8 is equipped to grow and improve. Importantly, we need to make sure every American knows about the line and feels empowered to use it if they need it. I’m proud to re-introduce this bill with a bipartisan group of colleagues who are also committed to solving our mental health crisis.” 

“The continued success of 9-8-8 as a crucial lifeline to prevent suicide depends on support from Congress. In Virginia the 9-8-8 rollout has shown how essential it is to devote the resources and effort necessary to make this lifesaving system work the way we need it to,” said Congressman Beyer. “Our bipartisan bill would help sustain the progress made in the year since the launch of this vital mental health hotline, ensuring that we save as many lives as possible.”

“Our country faces a mental health crisis that has left millions of our people feeling alone and helpless,” said Congressman Raskin. “I’m proud to help reintroduce the bipartisan 988 Implementation Act, which will build on the progress we achieved last year in supporting our local crisis call centers by vastly expanding access to mental health crisis response teams. Thanks to Congressman Cárdenas for his passionate leadership in building our mental health crisis response infrastructure, and thanks to all my colleagues for their support of this urgently needed legislation.” 

“Over the past year, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline has proven a life-saving resource for Americans in need,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “Launching 988 was a huge step towards making mental health care more accessible, but there is still more that can be done to ensure that all communities have access to help during times of crisis. From our children to our friends and neighbors, we all know someone who is struggling and needs access to a robust network of resources and support. We must continue to expand our mental health infrastructure to ensure that all Americans are getting the care they need at the right place and right time. The 988 Implementation Act is critical to continuing our good work and supporting patients and providers with every tool available.”

“As we mark one year since the introduction of the 988 crisis response service, it’s critical that Congress continues our oversight and implementation efforts to ensure that every American gets help when they need it,” said Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. “That’s why I’m proud to join my colleagues in this bipartisan effort to continue to get the word out about 988 and ensure that the system is doing the work it was intended to do and getting crisis response services to Americans in need in a timely and effective manner.”

“With the one-year anniversary of 988, we must still ensure that a crisis services continuum—consisting of call centers, mobile crisis units, and crisis stabilizations programs--is solidified in all states. This immediate intervention increases the ability of individuals to recover from crises and assists to keep them out of future crises, and I am pleased our bill provides funding for the full crisis services continuum, ” said Congresswoman Napolitano. “We must all continue to spread the word to individuals and the media, not only so they are aware of 988, but to help continue to reduce stigma. I am proud to join my colleagues in reintroducing this legislation to help save lives.”

The 988 Implementation Act:

  • Solidifies funding for 988 regional and local call centers to ensure a timely 24/7 response to callers anywhere in the country.
  • Provides funding for community-based crisis response, including mobile crisis teams and crisis centers.
  • Supports crisis workforce development with increased funding for training and scholarship opportunities.
  • Increases access to care by requiring that all health insurance plans cover crisis services.
  • Implements a national suicide prevention awareness campaign in partnership with a wide array of stakeholders.

The legislation is supported by more than 60 organizations including mental health advocates, clinical and medical professionals, state and local government officials, civil rights advocates, veterans, and more.

“The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline has given us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve our responses to people in mental health, substance use and suicide crises,” said Daniel H. Gillison Jr., Chief Executive Officer of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). “People in crisis need and deserve a mental health response – someone to talk to, someone to respond and a safe place to go. NAMI is grateful for the introduction of the 988 Implementation Act, which will provide the needed resources and infrastructure to help our communities fulfill the promise of 988.”

“The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline successfully served millions more people than in years prior, said Chuck Ingoglia, President and CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. “Yet we still have a long way to go to ensure that our crisis care system provides people in every community with someone to respond and somewhere to go if we hope to fulfill the promise of 988. Mobile crisis response remains elusive in many communities, and the mental health and substance use crisis workforces face crippling shortages. Growing the workforce and expanding access to mobile crisis services nationwide will take significant investment. Expanding behavioral health workforce training programs, increasing support for mobile crisis response, and increasing awareness of 988 will allow us to improve the Lifeline in its second year and for years to come. This bill will help us accomplish those goals and will enable more people to access lifesaving care.”  

“AFSP applauds Rep. Cárdenas and Reps. Beyer, Blunt Rochester, Fitzpatrick, Matsui, Moulton, Napolitano and Raskin for their leadership in advancing lifesaving crisis care services through their introduction of the 988 Implementation Act,” said Laurel Stine, J.D., M.A., Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “This important legislation would enhance and help sustain the crisis care continuum by extending federal supports for the 988 Lifeline’s infrastructure, so that anyone in crisis has someone to talk to, someone to respond, and a safe place to go when they need it. Importantly, the bill would also establish a national suicide prevention awareness campaign and support workforce development so that more people in mental health or suicide crisis can access the care they need. AFSP is proud to endorse the 988 Implementation Act and calls for its swift passage.”